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An outdoor activity that has increased over the past year is fishing. I’ve noticed more people fishing along lakes and rivers than recent memory. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources reported significant increases in fishing licenses in 2020 over previous years. This is really encouraging as fishing is a great way to relax, have fun and avoid close confrontation due to COVID-19 concerns.While it helps to have a boat, you can successfully catch fish from shore. Shoreline fishing is a great way to “wet a line” when you don’t have allotted fishing time, nor a boat. Angling from shore is also simple too. While modern boats have terrific features like 3D fish finders and GPS controlled trolling motors, those things are often complicated. Shoreline fishing is usually quiet and simple. It also works great when kids are along too.However, I should mention not every shoreline is as good as it looks. Some lake shores are too shallow or weedy to hold fish. Therefore, I want to take a moment and share some productive and publicly accessible places to fish from shore in the Barron County area.The first place I’d mention is an obvious one. The shoreline of Rice Lake at Veterans City Park is an excellent place to catch panfish, bass and the occasional pike throughout the year. The lake remains fairly shallow out to Knight’s Island. While this area is best in May and June, my kids have caught several meals of panfish here throughout the summer. The shallow water sees some healthy weed growth during the summer months, so short casts and weedless baits are necessary. You can also multi-task and enjoy a picnic or listen to Music in the Park on the same fishing adventure.A second shoreline fishing spot worth exploring is the Waldo Carlson Park on the west shore of Red Cedar Lake. Fishing here can be effective, especially in the morning and evening. Walleyes and smallmouth bass cruise the shoreline during low-light hours. The county operates a 17-acre campground at this location as well.The shoreline around Grant County Park at Silver Lake is one of my favorites. Fishing obviously isn’t the best within the swimming area, but the point of land to the west of the beach is good for casting. I’d encourage more subtle baits and longer casts here since the water is very clear. If the boat landing isn’t too busy, there’s usually bass and pike cruising in the bay on the park’s west side too. Silver Lake boasts the coolest, clearest water of just about any lake in Barron County. With the beach and picnic area, Grant County Park is a great place for the whole family to spend time.Fishing below dams is another good place to find fish throughout the year. Fish tend to travel long distances in rivers. Dams obviously create spots where fish congregate and feed. The Rice Lake dam is a popular place for fishing, though there’s a couple similar spots in the area worth checking as well. Dams often attract sharp-toothed predators like pike and muskie, so I encourage you to use a wire-leader to avoid cutting lines and maiming fish.Lastly, fishing the Red Cedar River near bridges or canoe landings usually offers deeper water and shade that attracts smallmouth bass and the occasional walleye. On a hot day, it’s relaxing to wade into the river too. I should also mention that rivers and dam-sites often have sharp rocks and slippery surfaces so proceed with caution.Fishing continues to be a popular sport and even better way to spend time with family and friends. Whether you have young people along, or only a couple hours of time to fish, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas for your next angling adventure.Craig Severud is a husband, father of five children, banker, angler, aspiring chef and proud Norwegian.
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